I love the work of the Holy Spirit. His desire is to draw people’s attention towards Jesus (John 14:26). On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), there were symbolic manifestations such as a sound like wind and then what appeared like flames of fire that sat on the believers heads. The Christians also spoke in other languages they had not learned. Interestingly, passers by thought this was all a bit weird and even thought they were drunk (Acts 2:13)! So Peter quickly realised he had to clearly explain what was happening and articulate the message of Jesus. The result? 3000 unchurched people responded and believed.
So does the Holy Spirit still work today? Can people experience him 2000 years later? The answer is…yes. There is nothing in the bible that suggests his work has ceased. The fruit of the Spirit are all for today (Gal 5: 22-23). So are all the gifts of the Spirit too (1 Cor 12:8-10).
Yet one of the things that can deeply undermine the Holy Spirit’s work is the obsession some Christians have about pursuing strange phenomena. Whilst this may seem ‘spiritual’, the fixation on weirdness becomes a distraction and actually trivialises the Spirit’s work. Remember, the Holy Spirit’s main purpose is not to signpost signs – but to signpost Jesus. This is WHY he empowers us in the first place.
If a church claims to be filled with the Spirit but isn’t engaging with the unchurched at every gathering, then the mark has been missed. It merely becomes a religious club and the only real growth that happens are the layers of insularity around the Christian bubble. A culture which searches for strangeness will always attract the few who love strange stuff – and alienate the rest of the world that God so wants us to reach.
Some think that the Holy Spirit cannot move in any gathering where there is any form of human scheduling. But this grossly underestimates him. If the Spirit wants to work, believe me…he can move! Heaven and earth won’t get in his way! However, he can minister with considerable ease through a programme that has been prayerfully planned. That’s why Paul encouraged the Christians at Corinth to organise their meetings ‘in a fitting and orderly way‘ (1 Corinthians 14:40).
At the Junction Church…we’re not pursuing weirdness. No. But we DO want to be totally filled with the Holy Spirit. We absolutely recognise our need to be filled with his power. In fact, our passion is to be so full of the Holy Spirit that we create a place where unchurched people can meet Jesus for the first time and find it easy to encounter his life changing grace. This is the atmosphere where miracles happen. Changed lives are the REAL evidence of his work.